Dear Parents,

Not all of you are going to agree with what I’ve written. Some of you will be downright mad after you read it. As with anything, this doesn’t apply to every parent out there. I do have those of you that support me and work with me – you know who you are and you know how immensely grateful I am for you.

As this school year came to an end, I started some research about the current state of our school system. This all started as I stared at myself in the mirror one morning, wondering if I should look and feel THIS exhausted. I am a mother of three, we are a farming family, and I am a middle school teacher. Most would say that right there is a sure-fire recipe for exhaustion. But this goes deeper than simply being tired. This school year has left me feeling depleted, defeated, and unsure of my place in my little corner of the world. Rather than throw in the towel, I thought I’d do some digging and try to get to the bottom of my feelings. I was surprised by my findings, and what initially provided me some twisted form of comfort – knowing I wasn’t the only teacher feeling this way quickly turned into fear for our society’s future.

Lately, it seems that many parents have adopted a bizarrely lenient attitude toward disciplining children as well as bending over backwards to accommodate their children’s every demand. It’s unclear what’s causing these parents to believe that children should be subject to no limits, no discipline, and no stringent requirements at school. Whatever the cause, these parents are, in fact, doing a terrible disservice to today’s young people and to society as a whole. And, they are leaving their children’s teachers feeling frustrated, ill-supported, and utterly exhausted.

The rate at which good teachers are exiting the school system is sky rocketing, and if things continue at this pace, no one will be willing to go into teaching at all. The average new teacher these days is lasting a whopping 4 years before calling it quits. Those seasoned teachers that have witnessed this strange, cultural shift firsthand are dropping like flies, realizing they don’t have the energy to fight this uphill battle. But, perhaps the saddest thing is that these schools are turning out children who are ill-suited to being constructive, productive members of our society.

Childhood is a phase of intense physical, emotional, and psychological development. Children need to learn what behavior is appropriate in our society, and how to get along with their peers and the adults in their lives. They need to learn how to play by the rules, as opposed to being taught that it’s acceptable to break the rules or simply ignore the rules altogether, fostering a serious sense of entitlement among our youth.

Kids need to learn essential values such as empathy, responsibility, hard work and self-discipline. They must be taught conscientiousness, resilience and integrity. When parents refuse to set limits, give kids consequences, or have appropriate expectations of academic and social performance, students are deprived of the skills and attitudes necessary for their future success. We are essentially robbing them of the greatest gift we can give them.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on – we mommas do love our babies. Unfortunately, someone – somewhere – at some point in time – planted a seed of doubt in our minds, telling us if we set limitations for our children, then we don’t love them. Oh how I would love to come face to face with this person in a dark alley.

If you think spoiling makes for happier kids, you haven’t done your research because the statistics I found completely contradict this. A recent article I read pointed to research which shows that the rate of depression, anxiety, and drug addiction in high-school and college students has exploded in the past five years, and many are saying that over-protective parenting and overly lenient school environments are a large part of what’s to blame for this. Turns out, despite all the eye rolling, these kiddos really do feel safe, loved, and worthy when we show them who’s in charge.

Ok, so that was a lot.

Ready for the good news?

I know I am.

This isn’t rocket science. You don’t have to earn some fancy degree to understand it. We, if we band together, can clean up the mess we’ve made. These are simple ways we can fix this as well as a bunch of personal promises I will make to you as your child’s teacher.

1. For starters, your kid is capable of doing and saying things that will shock the living daylights out of you. We work with these kids every day and see your child in a different light than you do. If we come to you with a problem or write your child up for disrespectful behavior, don’t automatically fight it. Take a moment to digest it. We don’t have it out for your child. We don’t hate your kid. We don’t get a weird thrill out of writing detentions. We want what you want – for them to rise to the occasion and be the best version of themselves they can be. But, they aren’t born with the tendency to do this. We must guide them, direct them, and model this for them.

Please know that I am right there in the life raft with you. I have a rising 7th grader, 4th grader, and kindergartner. Most nights end with me lying in bed praying for God to help me do it better tomorrow. My three babies are so perfectly imperfect. When my 9 year old’s (AKA the least likely member of our family to be accused of people pleasing) teacher emails me to let me know that he has lost his recess due to inability to sit still and keep his hands off his classmates, I resist the innate urge to 1) crawl under my desk and hide, 2) jump to his defense (he’s a little boy who’d rather be outdoors!), and 3) ignore the problem that he’s obviously causing in her classroom. Will he have his side of the story? Yes. Will I hear him out? Yes. Will it change the fact that an adult took time out of her busy day to email me because my child upset the flow of her teaching day? No. Punishing him at home for disrespecting authority at school is difficult. It’s tiring, takes a lot of effort, requires a tremendous amount of patience, and is just plain inconvenient. But, the fact is: his teacher needs me to follow through, just as I need her to educate my boy. She and I have to work together to drive this bus, otherwise the wheels fall off and we all end up in the ditch.

2. Trust me. When I write a child up or tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on the back of their necks. They tense up and are ready to fight, defend their child…and let me tell you – it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her kid did and she turns, looks at him and asks, “Is that true?” Well, of course it’s true. I just told you.

We (women) tend to tear each other down. I see a heavy gravitation toward this with my middle school girls. They can be mean, hateful, and downright cruel. Unfortunately, some of us never moved on from Mean Girl University – in fact some of us are still regular attendees hoping to graduate magna cum laud. We don’t lift each other up and support one another. We jump at opportunities to attack each other, albeit much more behind the scenes in adulthood – it’s an attack nonetheless. And, let’s be honest, it hurt when we were teenagers, and it’s hurtful now. It’s no wonder when I come to you with something your child has done wrong at school; your defenses immediately go up. Somehow it has turned into me pointing the finger at you, whispering behind your back that you are a bad mom. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your child’s bad choice isn’t a direct reflection on you as a person. The way you choose to handle it – IS. Every kid will mess up. Every kid will disappoint us at times. Every kid needs a slew of adults to be invested in them, care about them. This isn’t supposed to be a competition among us as women. I want to be part of your village – goodness knows, I need my children’s teachers to be part of mine.

3. For the love of Pete, please quit with all the excuses. If you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. Last summer, I was at the pool chatting with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me flat out, with no shame, that he hadn’t even started, and I let him know I was disappointed because school started in two weeks. His mother chimed in quickly and told me that it had been a difficult summer for them and that she was allowing him some “important fun time” because it was summer. Wow. Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation. Unfortunately, they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses, unable to exhibit a strong work ethic. If you don’t want your child to end up 30, jobless, sitting on your couch, eating Lucky Charms and playing Fortnite, then stop making excuses for why they aren’t succeeding and demand more from them. God has trusted you with this child. You owe them that gift.

4. Parents, let’s be partners. It’s OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are confused by parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they hover over us, waiting for the opportunity to dive in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don’t set up a time to meet with me to negotiate an 80. Each time you do this, you are slowly chipping away at our ever so important parent/teacher relationship. Let them fall down. Let them hurt a little. And, I can assure you, they will want to do better next time.

5. This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn’t assume that because your child makes straight A’s they are getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it’s the ineffective teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades, everyone will leave them alone. I honestly can’t blame them. They aren’t verbally attacked on the cereal aisle at the grocery store (true story). They don’t avoid social media because of rants ending with hashtags that are…well, just plain mean (#andpassiveaggressive #justsayin). Parents will say, “My child has a great teacher! He made all A’s this year!” Come on now. Seriously? In all honesty, it’s usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your child receives low grades, you complain to the headmaster, not only exhausting our school administration, but leaving your kids’ teachers feeling like they have no value. Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has “given” your child…you might stop to realize your child “earned” those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.

6. Teachers walk on a sea of eggshells. The sad reality is – a great number of administrators and teachers these days have hands that are completely tied. In many ways, we live in fear of what will happen next. We walk on eggshells in a watered-down education system where teachers lack the courage to correct or re-direct a child without fear of being summoned to the office to explain ourselves. Administration is overwhelmed trying to please parents (b/c we are paying a pretty penny for education), taking vitally important time away from running our school. It’s a cycle that, if not broken, will have truly devastating effects.

7. Last but most certainly not least…I KNOW you love your children. I love them too. These kids get into my heart in a way I can’t explain to you. I just ask — beg of you — to trust me, support me, and work with me, not against me. I need you to have my back. I need you to give me the respect I deserve. Please don’t badmouth me in front of your kid. Please don’t passively aggressively attack me on social media. Lift me up and make me feel appreciated. I promise every chance I get, I am lifting you up in my classroom. I promise I appreciate the hard work you are doing at home. I promise I am not the enemy. I promise I am on your side. I promise I am cheering your kid on with the loudest momma voice you can imagine. I promise in the end, you and I want the exact same thing. And finally, I promise – if you will let me –to give your child the best education humanly possible.

You and I, together, could be quite the force to be reckoned with, don’t you think?
#ourfuturecanbebright #together #joinmyOPSvillage

Mrs. Erin Axson

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erin Weigle Axson, a middle school reading and writing teacher in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to THEIR best stories in THEIR free newsletter here.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    guest · 11:17 06/02/2018
    You are a very special person. It's about time a teacher spoke out.

    Your students and their parents are verrry lucky to have you.

    You care about them and they don't even know it, much less appreciate you.

    Kudos to you. If there were more like you, we wouldn't have so many problems in the world. Teachers today are cowards (not you).
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hidey Ho · 19:42 06/01/2018
    Don't teach, then...

    My mother taught High School for 35 years, and it left her exhausted, worn-out, and questioning where the next generation was headed!

    We believe that it also triggered an early death from cancer due to the stress.

    Parents were minimally supportive in disciplining their kids!

    It also turned her into a nasty b!*ch at times on the home-front, due to the anxieties that the students and staff put on her due to the politics in kind.

    Since she was a black belt in judo, she was once able to put a 220 lb. foot ball player high on drugs and armed with a switch-blade knife on the ground until help arrived in her class room.

    But, of course, the parents of the kid denied that little 220 lb Johnny would never do anything wrong like that,...! & they bitched about the tactics when our mnother defended herself with great effect!

    Kids passing her in the hallways stepped aside and said 'Good Morning Maam' or something like that...& in the class room, they NEVER acted up after that episode!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Uncle Samael & Aunti · 19:32 06/01/2018
    Just wait until the Global Village fully kicks in under Agenda 21 and 30...

    No child left behind (when rounding-up for the FEMA Camps...)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    FWayne · 10:53 06/01/2018
    I think WiFi in Schools should become a SUSPECT ... (and don't forget the home and neighbors WiFi-Everything).

    Youtube - "Wifi in Schools"

    and one more article that should be considered regarding WiFi:

    I have read that there was more WiFi Equipment in 2014 than there were humans on earth ... it's 2018 folks (just count the number of devices you have with you and in your home).
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chilly8 · 06:07 06/01/2018
    Kids are becoming brats. When I go to Disneyland and hear kids throw tantrums you have to see to believe, it shows how parenting has gone to the dogs.

    It is no wonder millenials and post millenials turn out the the way they have
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Jill · 11:14 06/01/2018
      Yep but try whacking your child in California n see how far you get before someone is in your face. My daughter has experienced this first hand when her ...gasp 3 kids...were younger
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Makaveli · 21:47 05/31/2018
    He was a nice middle class nigga
    But nobody knew the evil he'd do when he got a little bigger
    Get off the final blaze
    While puffing on a Newport
    Plottin' on a another way to catch a case
    Was only sixteen, yet convicted as a felon
    With a bunch of old niggas
    But you the only one who ain't telling
    I tell you it's a cold world, stay in school
    You tell me its a man's world, play the rules
    And fade fools, 'n break rules until we major
    Blaze up, getting with hoes through my pager
    Was raised up, commencing to money makin' tactics
    It's getting drastic, niggas got automatics
    My fingers on the trigga, tell the lord
    To make way for another straight thug nigga
    I'm sitting getting buzzed, looking for some luv
    From the homies, 'cause shorty wanna be a thug
  • This commment is unpublished.
    A · 21:29 05/31/2018
    Damn. Well put. I hope the Lord blesses you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jill · 21:04 05/31/2018
    As the parent of 5 children the oldest is 37 the youngest is 14 I will weigh in on this. The world changed dramatically between my oldest 2 and youngest 3. Things I learned along the way. Discipline is fundamental but not wily nilly. One needs a standard. For us it was the 10 commandments. Parents need to take responsibility for educating their children. Teachers are not employers. The child needs to be empoweredto take responsibility for learning. If a child approaches education as a privilege not a right one will get different results. My youngest 3 were aallowed to go to high school if they got good grades. I can homeschool them to mediocrity.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeff Spinner · 20:42 05/31/2018
    A woman b*tching about the gynocracy. What kind of society do you get when women are in charge? You get the fall of America.

    I was a JHS/DHS math teacher going in with a masters plus 30, I got max pay for an entering teach. Guess what I taught?

    "In my class YOU will be safe." I learned after two years of scratching my head, while they couldn't do arithmetic (mathematics is NOT arithmetic, but a way of thinking...) because they were illiterate.

    My son at 17 says now, the Hispanics (he's half Hispanic, I tride to hide my genes where ppl like in South Africa won't chop up to eat...) are non-verbal and illiterate IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE! The best way to describe what I mean is: they only use emojis...

    Let that sink in.

    Unlike you Hal, the only reason why I still live is to see the day white women go on TV and tell the world being a comfort girl to a Chinese oligarch is the best thing to happen to them.

    Then I can die laughing.

    MGTOW. It's been a long rode, but the young men HAVE learned from the older men's mistakes like my own being absolutely destroyed by the NYC ACS and Family Court system...and I don't ever CARE about me, but they destroyed the children too.

    My son will never forgive me for my one mistake in life. You know what that was? Taking a chance on his mother. I told him in a meaningless world, if fulfilling your biological function is also wrong, why go through all the suffering just to be rewarded by death at the end? "You shouldn't have chosen HER." I said, we'll if I still am alive in 10 years, we'll redress this discussion, because son, she is not really different from any other hypergamous female...you turn 18 in a couple of months, wait until your brain turns on and thinks and then we'll talk. "Go fk yourself." There's nothing I can fk, I have nothing left, but watching you hate me, and fostercare starve your younger brother to death.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jethro Bodine · 20:32 05/31/2018
    Isn't it you the school system that threatens with legal action the parents who dare to actually teach and discipline their children? Isn't it you the school system that plies the children with "sex education" classes in such a way that the teachers (mostly female teachers) can so easily boink the students? Isn't it you the school teachers who reject Creationism for Darwinism in the classroom for a paycheck and then go to church on Sunday? That's right, isn't it you the school teacher that sold your soul to the devil for a nice fat taxpayer paid salary? Before you blame everybody else for the destruction of the country, remember this. The real culprit is not hard to find. All you have to do is take a look in the mirror.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Jeff spinner · 20:51 05/31/2018
      Compulsory Education started in the early 20th century to get the kids off the streets as a crime issue. Then they realised, since they already have them captive, they could indoctrinate while also creating good factory workers killing everyone's inner scientist and creativeness.

      Then they realised they could just drug all the potential leaders of the population, so they pre-emptively destroy all potential resistance to their lords (ruling class are just minions to others of higher status, the real money)

      Now they think people, except for organ harvesting, prostitution, and playthings are obsolete.

      So education just becomes annihilation.
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